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Slaughtneil cast Swatragh aside to claim Derry crown - The Irish News
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Hurling and camogie

Slaughtneil cast Swatragh aside to claim Derry crown

Slaughtneil celebrate beating Swatragh in the Derry Senior Hurling Championship final at Owenbeg, Dungiven
Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Séamus Mullan

McGurk Chartered Architects Derry Senior Hurling Championship final: Slaughtneil 5-26 Swatragh 1-5

SLAUGHTNEIL have joined Kevin Lynch’s and Lavey on the three in-a-row roll of honour of Derry senior hurling champions, but nobody predicted they would trounce neighbours Swatragh in such an emphatic manner.

From the first whistle to the last, the Emmet’s dominated exchanges at Owenbeg with a superb exhibition of attacking hurling, their fitful display of the semi-final win over Kevin Lynch’s banished in an attacking performance that had everyone querying if such a scoring barrage had been seen before in a Derry final.

With Chrissy McKaigue giving a player of the match performance in the middle of the field in the first half - and landing 0-6 as well - and then as extra defensive cover as Slaughtneil ensured that there would be no threat to their interval lead of 3-18 to 0-3, they simply feasted on the quality ball that poured down on top of an attack that was simply in irresistible scoring form.

Swatragh were without their suspended inter-county full back Conor Quinn but I doubt that his presence would have made any real difference, such was the scoring threat posed right across the Emmet’s attack.

Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane remarked: “Our first half performance was amazing, to be honest with you. We’d scored 3-18, we hit two wides and dropped into the ‘keeper’s hands.

“You just don’t get that every day you go out. I wish you did, but you don’t. But, that said and done, all week I knew there was a big performance in these boys. All week I said there was a big performance in these boys.

“We had been disappointed by our performance against Kevin Lynch’s. We felt we didn’t perform, that we missed a lot of scores, and with all due respect to Kevin Lynch’s, we felt we should never have been going into extra-time.

“The only way to answer that is to go back out the next day and perform to the very highest level. That’s what I asked of the players before the match today. Before we went out, we said to forget about three-in-a-row, derbies, all that – go out and play to the best of your abilities.

“Throw off the shackles, don’t be scared to make a mistake, go and play with a bit of freedom and show everyone how good a team you are. I think they did that.”

That they certainly did, with seven points in the first ten minutes with Chrissy McKaigue imperiously hitting three.

A delightful shimmy from Brendan Rogers set him up for the first goal in the 12th minute, the second coming eight later from Brian Cassidy for 2-12 to no score, Sé McGuigan adding a third in added time.

Michael Kirkpatrick converted three Swatragh frees and would add two more in the second half, Sean Francis Quinn’s goal coming 10 minutes from time.

With Cormac O’Doherty picking off points at will- 0-11 -and Brendan Rogers in the 46th minute and Sé McGuigan in 50th minute adding goals Slaughtneil romped to a third successive senior championship title.

Slaughtneil: O O’Doherty; M Kearney, S Cassidy, B Óg Corbett; C McKenna, M McGrath (0-2), P McNeill (0-1); B Cassidy (1-2), K McKaigue; C O’Doherty (0-11, 0-4 frees), M McGuigan (0-1), G O’Kane; B Rogers (2-2), S McGuigan (2-1), C McKaigue (0-6, 0-1 free); Subs: P Kearney for S Cassidy (40 mins); J Mulholland for B Óg Corbett (40).
Swatragh: D McNicholl; E McGuckin, C McQuillan, N O’Doherty; M O’Hagan, S Bradley, C Quinn; M Warnock, P Turner: S McNicholl, T McCloy, R Convery; S F Quinn (1-0), M Conway, M Kirkpatrick (0-5, frees); Subs: C Convery for C McQuillan (27); P Bradley for M O’Hagan (33); N McQuillan for S Bradley (37); T O’Kane for C Quinn (51); D McGuckin for S McNicholl (53).
Referee: Paddy McEldowney (Ballinascreen)

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